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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Portrait of an artist

    Jessica Drenk, a fine arts graduate student, shows off her sculptures yesterday afternoon in the Joseph Gross Gallery. Her works are made from dipping q-tips, cotton balls, toilet paper, napkins and coffee filters into porcelain.
    Jessica Drenk, a fine arts graduate student, shows off her sculptures yesterday afternoon in the Joseph Gross Gallery. Her works are made from dipping q-tips, cotton balls, toilet paper, napkins and coffee filters into porcelain.

    Who: Local sculptor Jessica Drenk.

    What: Her new exhibit “”Imprints,”” on display at the Lionel Rombach Gallery until Sept. 1.

    Bio: Drenk was born in Bozeman, Mont., where she grew up. She started attending the UA as a graduate student in 2004, and is working on her master of fine arts in the School of Art. She has an award for outstanding student achievement from the International Sculpture Center in New Jersey.

    Wildcat: What inspires you?

    Drenk: One of my first inspirations was growing up in Montana. I grew up very close to a museum called the Museum of the Rockies. They have a famous paleontologist who worked there. When I was a little kid I would go to the museum and look at the bones and fossils there.

    W: What art inspires you?

    Drenk: When I go to museums, I go to art museums to look at contemporary art. But I’m just as excited to go to a natural history museum.

    W: What mediums do you work in?

    Drenk: The show that’s going on now is in porcelain clay. I’ve taken things like cotton balls and disposable objects and I’ve taken porcelain and made it into a slip that is liquid clay, and I toss the cotton into the slip. When I fire it into the kiln, the cotton burns away with the fire but the residue of the clay remains. The shape of the cotton remains. It is the imprints of what is left behind.

    W: What makes you a unique artist/gives you a unique voice?

    Drenk: One of the things is that I am very experimental and instinctual with the way that I work and spend my time in my studio. I gather materials that anyone could use but then I just start to intuitively manipulate those found objects. It’s like a scientific experiment where I think, “”Gee, what would be fun to do with that?”” I end up making things that are sort of accessing a deep part in my esthetic. I am tapping into that past of growing up and going to the museums and Montana and I’ve taken all of that nature in and now I think I have a fairly unique way of regurgitating what I see.

    W: What is your most recent work?

    Drenk: The porcelain pieces that are going on right now. I’m also working on pieces that go on the wall that are made out of toilet paper. I got really into it. I squished them into boxes so that they could go like cells. I ended up buying rolls of toilet paper to have supplies.

    W: What did the cashier think about that?

    Drenk: They knew me by the end of the week. Once I bought 5,000 pencils from a store. The guy that I bought them from wanted to know what I was going to do with them.

    W: When did you start making art?

    Drenk: When I was an undergrad and I went to Pomona College. There, I did a lot of work with ceramics that was a lot more traditional. I did drawing and painting there and followed the lines of study that the schools kind of generally teach to students.

    W: What piece are you the most proud of?

    Drenk: Right now I’m most proud of the exhibit that was in the UA library last year. I’m mostly proud of that because it felt like a completion of a line of question. It’s the experimenting that I was doing with books for three years coming together. There were over 130 pieces in it. It really felt like the first piece that I truly finished.

    W: Do you collaborate with other artists?

    Drenk: No collaborations, all by myself.

    W: What do you think of Tucson?

    Drenk: I really like Tucson because as I talked about being inspired by Montana, being in Tucson is a great chance for me to see a different landscape. I love the cacti. They have amazing forms. They are sculptures themselves. That is very inspiring to me.

    W: What’s next for you?

    Drenk: I have a two-person show at the Conrad Wilde Gallery in the fall that will be the toilet paper pieces that I’ve been talking about. I have other shows across Albuquerque and Indiana as well.

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